Six students who wrote their diplomas in January 2023 and received 100 per cent were lauded by the Rocky View Schools Board in early May. Two of the high school students are graduating from Airdrie High schools; Andrew Fallow from Bert Church High School as well as Trajan Stefanik from W.G. Murdoch School. 

While Stefanik scored 100 per cent on the Chemistry 30 diploma exam, Fallow got a perfect grade on his Math 30-1 diploma. Fallow said that he was very studious before his diplomas, working through a thick work booklet each day for at least 30 minutes before the exam. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that math is a favourite subject of his. 

"[Math] isn't really like English or Social [Studies] where there are a couple of different possible answers. [With math] there's really only one way to do things. and once I'm able to learn the way to solve a problem - I can do it pretty easily," Fallow said.

But even with all that studying, he admitted he was slightly nervous going into the exam, although he did hope to achieve that 100 per cent mark, nonetheless. When he finally did learn of the final grade, he said there was disbelief.

"I wasn't entirely sure; a part of my brain thought that maybe they input the number wrong somehow. But, as the day went on, I thought, 'No, I actually did do this.'"

While math may be a subject he enjoys, Fallow said his other passion is music, and he has decided he will be studying music in post-secondary life. Having been accepted to the University of Calgary, Fallow is going on to study music composition.

"I'm a really big fan of film and television and video game compositions because of how they're written to reflect emotions of the scene," he said. 

While he couldn't choose just one favourite composer, he said that Miles Morales' video game rendition of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is one of his favourites. 

But Fallow wasn't the only one who got the top grade in their Math 30-1 diploma. Grade 12 student, Marissa Jackson from Beiseker Community School also achieved the perfect score. Like Fallow, she too was studying up and just like Fallow, Jackson said math is her passion.

Andrew Fallow (left) and Marisa Jackson (right) are two of six students who reiceved top marks on the January 2023 diplomas. (Photo provided by Rocky View Schools)Andrew Fallow (left) and Marissa Jackson (right) are two of six students who received top marks on the January 2023 diplomas. (Photo provided by Rocky View Schools)

"That's what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life. I'm going to the University of Alberta. I started out applying for chemistry because I also am very passionate about chemistry," she said. "But I'll probably end up into something more math or physics related in the later years."

While her graduation ceremony was emotional, she said there is a palpable excitement in starting a new chapter in her young life. 

"I would say it is a little bit emotional since I've been going to Beiseker school for 13 years now. It's a big step, but I think I'm ready for it."

Although she also had hoped that she would get the coveted 100 per cent on her diploma, Jackson said it was a long exam.

"You get six hours to write it and I was in there for five hours and 55 minutes. When I left - I knew I had checked all my work well, but it's always the little algebra mistakes that you miss out on. But, overall, I was confident in my ability that I understood every question."

However, it was Jackson's mom who actually alerted her first about the mark when the scores came in.

"My mom was a secretary at my school and she was waving at me through the window when I was in social studies," Jackson said.

When asked what her parting words of advice would be to other graduates, Jackson said that following one's passions and dreams is the most important thing.

"If there's something that you love - I don't think that you should be worrying about how much money is this going to bring me. I think you should just go for what you want to do and that doesn't have to be [going to] school; that could be travelling or working. I think it's just all about pursuing what you want to do."

Other Rockyview School students who also achieved top grades included:

  • Hannah Gillcrist, Springbank Community High School, Biology 30
  • Liam Berry, Springbank Community High School, Biology 30 
  • Will Kraus, Springbank Community High School, Biology 30

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